Grants and training available to Alberta bakeries using REP
December 2, 2021
By Jesse Boily, Town & Country News
Online training is now being made available to participating Alberta businesses and organizations though the province’s Restrictions Exemption Program (REP), rolled out Sept. 20.
The training session, which was launched last Wednesday, is approximately 45 minutes and provided at no cost to employers and staff.
The province says the training will help employers and employees assess and manage challenging situations that can arise due to the REP.
“(It) includes information that workers need to keep themselves and customers safe while implementing COVID-19 safety requirements, such requesting proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test, physical distancing or masking,” says the province in a release.
Still, it’s not clear whether businesses have been quick to embrace the initiative.
Larry Gibson, chair of the Grande Prairie and District Chamber of Commerce, told the News he isn’t aware of many local businesses taking advantage of the new training.
“The REP is nothing new. They’ve (businesses) been doing it for a while now, and I think the organization’s know the rules (and) they know what they have to do, and they’ve already trained their staff,” he said.
Although businesses hiring new staff may take advantage of the new training, many are used to adapting as regulations change, noted Gibson.
As of Nov. 16, a $2,000 grant is available for businesses, co-operatives and non-profit organizations implementing REP. To be eligible, they must implement the REP consistently as part of daily operations, be a permanent establishment in Alberta, and employ fewer than 500.
Gibson said that he’s heard from businesses that have taken advantage of the grant, but many still face challenges.
“They’re (businesses) appreciative of the support, but they keep indicating they have a long way to go before they climb back out of this deficit that they found themselves in over the past 18-19 months.”
In Gibson’s conversations with local businesses, he said “things are beginning to look better” for the restaurant and hospitality industry.
“Patrons are coming back, and they’re feeling comfortable,” he said.
“Businesses levels are coming back up to where they were pre-pandemic even, so that is encouraging to hear.”
Jessy Boily is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter.
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